Press Release
September 3, 2012

Talk of Senator Koko Pimentel before the Parañaque City Government Flag Raising on September 3, 2012


Honorable Mayor Jun Bernabe, Vice Mayor Gustavo Tambunting, City Councilors, Department Heads, officers and staff, my fellow government workers, fellow Filipinos, good morning to all of you.

Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with you this morning.

Since I am speaking before people involved in local governance, allow me to solicit your support for a particular bill of mine which I filed on the occasion of the anniversary of the Local Government Code on Oct. 10, 2011, which I will refer to as the "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill".

City's Achievements

But before I proceed to the details, allow me to congratulate your city and your leaders for the achievements of Parañaque City which even if you wanted to, could no longer be hidden from the public's approving gaze.

Just last year, Parañaque received the 2011 International Awards for Liveable Cities Bursary Award with a £10,000 financial support for "Making Food Go Further: Mitigating Hunger and Ensuring Future Resilience and Stronger Households" or Project FRESH - a project which you conducted with the Department of Education Parañaque Division of City Schools, in partnership with the Save the Children and Kraft Foods Philippines.

And in 2010, your city also received the Emerging Local C.H.A.M.P. (Catalytic HIV and AIDS Mitigation Programme) Award under the Leadership for Effective and Sustained Responses to HIV and AIDS component implemented by the Department of Interior and Local Government's Local Government Academy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Also in the same year, your city was chosen as an Urban Health Champion, awarded by the Urban H.E.A.R.T. Healthy Cities Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health.

And in 2009, the Bureau of Local Government Finance cited your city as the No. 1 in revenue collection among Local Government Units in the National Capital Region.

That was not the end of your city's glorious ascent in the totem pole of extraordinary public service to our people.

In the same year, 2009, Parañaque City received the Galing Pook Award for Outstanding Local Governance in recognition of the city's innovative Adolescent-Friendly Reproductive Health Services (AFRHS).

I was also informed that recently investors from Las Vegas have expressed their interest in investing $2 Billion for hotels and amenities in your city.

All these developments give proof to a study by the Asian Institute of Management a few years ago which said that Parañaque City is among the most competitive cities in the country.

Noong 2006, binigyan ng parangal ng aking ama, si dating Senate President Nene Pimentel, ang inyong mayor bilang outstanding mayor for good governance in 2006, and that it was truly well-deserved.

For all these achievements, we should pay tribute to your leaders like Mayor Bernabe, Vice Mayor Tambunting, the City Councilors, the barangay officials, and a special tribute to the employees of Parañaque City, who, over the years, have provided continuity and stability in the bureaucracy through dedicated public service, showing that your local government, as a frontline institution, has been responsive in the delivery of basic services to the people.

Kailangan palakpakan natin sila para alam ng buong mundo na dito sa atin may mga utusang publiko tulad ng mga opisyales ng Paranaque na nagbibigay ng dangal di lang sa kanilang sarili kundi sa buong sambayanan.

My father, Senator Nene Pimentel, the recognized father of the Local Government Code, was one of the prime movers and supporters of the Galing Pook Awards. Now that I am a Senator myself, I will continue my father's advocacy and efforts to encourage and recognize innovations in local governance, such as those already shown by Paranaque City.

Human efforts can only amount to so much. I cannot but underscore my personal belief that if the leadership of the city government of Paranaque did not dedicate your city as a 'City of God', the first in the country to officially do so, I would not be certain at all that you would merit the blessings of peace, prosperity and development that continue to come your way. Man's capacity to do things for good may only be fulfilled if we are motivated with the love of God for our fellow human beings.

Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill

Now I am done with my homily, let me go back to the proposal I mentioned earlier, which I have called the "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill".

I have proposed the amendment of Section 284 of the Local Government Code of 1991 under Senate Bill No. 2987. My proposal covers two aspects.

The "Bigger Pie" refers to the tax base. Currently the LGUs' IRA is based on the "national internal revenue taxes" collected by the BIR. But the Constitution states that "Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them."

In short, I have proposed amending the phrase "national internal revenue taxes" into "national taxes", which to my mind refers to those taxes and other amounts collected by the entire national government, not only by the BIR. (These additional amounts would come from the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Ports Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Foreign Affairs, among others.)

The "Bigger Slice" refers to the sharing between the National Government and the Local Governments. Currently, the sharing is 60% to 40% in favor of the Central or National Government.

Under my proposal, the sharing would be "hating kapatid", 50-50, between the National Government and the Local Governments.

My local government expert, Mr. Terry Dumogho, has calculated that if my "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill" becomes law, that is, if the share of LGUs is based on the collection of all national taxes and the sharing between National and Local is 50-50, then the "Share in the National Taxes" or SNT (it shall no longer be called "IRA"), of Parañaque City would be P823,236,813 (compared to your 2012 IRA share of P646,021,093 or an increase of P177,215,720).

The benefits of the increased LGU share in the national taxes or SNT would also be extended all the way down to the barangays.

Since Parañaque City already knows how to use its current IRA for the maximum benefit of your people, just imagine how much good my "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill" would do to your city if it becomes law.

So I hope that you would support the passage of the "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill".

Other Legislative Initiatives

Aside from this bill I have other legislative initiatives covering the five areas I have decided to concentrate on. I needed to limit my involvement to some core competencies because of the limited time given to me as Senator in my current term, just one year and ten months, having been proclaimed as Senator only in August of 2011, and elections are fast approaching! That is how limited my time is.

I have chosen five areas of involvement: (1) "local governments" where I have this "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill"; (2) "justice" where I will file what I call the "Anti-Chamber Practice Bill" in order to preserve objectivity in our justice system and also propose some amendments to the Speedy Trial Act in order to speed up trial and the dispensation of justice in our country; (3) "youth" where I am for SK reform not abolition; (4) "OFWs" where I have proposed making the retention of the passports of our OFWs by their recruiters and employers a criminal act (a form of grave coercion); and (5) last but not the least, my passion, "electoral reforms" where I am proposing and supporting bills allowing the early voting of media practitioners, the designation of special ground floor voting precincts for persons with disabilities and senior citizens who already have difficulty climbing a flight of stairs, and allowing internet registration and voting for overseas Filipinos in order to increase the participation in our Overseas Absentee Voting System. Of course, I will continue to support all initiatives penalizing criminals who subvert the will of our people by massive cheating and willful manipulation of the election process.

My most radical idea, which I admit is a long shot, is the incorporation of the voters' biometrics information into the voting machines. The Board of Election Inspectors will be our first line of defense against election cheating, and it is my hope to make the machines our last line of defense for those who are able to penetrate the first line of defense. The machines will not care or even know who the local warlord is! So even if the illegal voter is the warlord's man, the machine will still not allow him to vote since his biometrics information are not stored in the machine's database.

I am available to discuss with you the details of my ideas but we should do this some other time.

Conclusion: Magtulungan tayo!

Although yours is a very progressive city, relatively speaking compared to other Philippine LGUs, admittedly Parañaque City is still faced with a lot of problems. But I am sure most, if not all, of these can and will be solved by a combination of imaginative good governance and additional resources.

Good governance is within your control. You have the basic law, the Local Government Code to guide you. Use it wisely. Continue to be transparent in your transactions and accountable in your use of the resources of your government.

Then, of course, vote wisely and vote into office only competent, imaginative, concerned, and above all, honest leaders.

Since we are in a democracy, our electoral reform agenda make sure that the true will of the people emerges victorious in all our elections.

And the matter of additional resources, will be answered by my "Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice Bill".

As the son of the father of the Local Government Code, the local government of Parañaque City will always have my support.

Feel free to approach me for anything na kaya nating gawin sa ilalim ng batas, ng ating Constitution at ng ating konsiensya.

Magtulungan po tayo. At iiwanan ko po kayo ng payo na natutunan ko sa aking pakikipabaka: "PagNasa Tama Ka, Never Give Up!" Yan po ang advice ko sa magagaling at magigiting na opisyales at mamamayan ng Paranaque City.

God bless the officials, the public servants and the people of Paranaque. Maraming salamat po at magandang umaga sa lahat.

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